Friday, October 28, 2005
A little over a year ago, I spent a couple of weeks without electricity, thanks to the Hurricane Twins, Frances and Jeanne. I put together a little slideshow with words (you could see it at http://underdogishere.com/albums/frances4.index.htm, but the site is temporarily down), and the final slide talked about that subject:
I have left that front door light on ever since. I've never turned it off. It represents something to me -- I don't know exactly what. If I had to put a word to it without thinking, the word would be "peace." The light represents peace. Every time I come home, even during the day, I see that light on and I know peace. I guess it's all wrapped up in the hurricanes and everything we went through and the idea that it was over. And the idea that no matter what happens, we can get through it.
Why am I telling you this? Because that light has been on now without interruption for a little over a year, but tonight I will be turning it off. I'm going away for a little while, and Halloween is coming, and if I leave it on it will attract trick-or-treaters to a house that is empty and, alas, offers no treats. So the light has to be off.
It's a watershed of sorts. Even though it's only temporary, turning the light off has roiled my emotions. I'll be glad when it's on again.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
This is a true story
This happened many years ago, before it would have been possible to relate it in a Weblog, so that's my justification for dusting it off and repeating it now.
My employer at that time sold its products worldwide, including to the Peoples Republic of China. We had service centers all around the world to support our products, but the PRC in particular wanted to be able to support themselves, so they sent teams of their engineers over here to be trained.
Now, I don't know what criteria the Chinese government used to select engineers for this purpose. I would guess that academic credentials played a part, and maybe their experience or seniority, and perhaps whether or not they had slept with the Commissar's daughter, but I do know one criterion that was not considered, and that is their command of English. You would think that when selecting engineers to travel to a foreign country to be intensively educated in supporting enormously complicated products used in life-and-death applications, a basic requirement would be fluency in the language in which the education will be conducted. But no, to a man, these Chinese engineers spoke terrible English.
One day, a Production Manager (a bigwig dude) was walking past the elevator when he noticed that a sheet of paper with the words "Out of Order" had been taped over the call button. A Chinese gentleman was pushing the call button repeatedly, through the hanging paper, and then listening for the elevator. The Production Manager stopped and pointed to the paper. He spoke slowly, following the words with his finger:
"Out. Of. Order."
The Chinese man looked puzzled. The Production Manager repeated himself, drawing the words out (why is it that we think that distorting the pronunciation of a word will make it more understandable to foreigners?):
"Ooouut ooof oooordeer."
The Chinese man still looked puzzled.
"Noooo wooork," said the Production Manager.
The Chinese man still looked puzzled.
"Noooo wooork," said the Production Manager, waving his arms and hands back and forth in front of his chest, palms down. "Broooken."
To which the puzzled Chinese man finally said,
"Yeah. I know. I'm here to fix it."
Labels: Out and About
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Yesterday evening I received my Reiki Master attunement. Studying Reiki has been an odd experience for me. I am a Geek. (I would be an engineer, but I do not have a college degree. Engineers are Geeks with college degrees. I do not have a degree, thus I am a Geek.) I am an atheist who does not believe in the existence of anything that is not scientifically quantifiable. But I have been, in the Reiki classes, in the company of people who freely converse about their communications with angels; discuss past and future lives as though reincarnation was as obvious and apparent as the full Moon in this morning's sky; and bandy terms from Quantum Mechanics with an ignorance that is shocking but is also, in a strange way, charmingly innocent. I have said nothing of my own thoughts to these people, because I realize that I am a guest in their world, they are not in mine, and I respect them, and I have no desire to create discord -- or stimulate discussion, whichever you choose to call it.
So how (you may ask) did I come to be in these classes, with these people? How did a Geek come to be a Reiki Master? Therein lies a story, from long ago, but I'll save it for another time. The story I'm going to tell today happened just a couple of months ago. Since part of it happened on the public Internet, and I do not have the permission of the principles to repeat it, I'll obscure the details:
I received a request, via the Internet, to pray for one who was very ill. As an atheist, prayer wasn't exactly one of my options, but I was moved to send Reiki. I went home after work that day, and I had some other things to do, and it wasn't until mid-evening that I did the distance send. The flow was very, very strong -- stronger than any Reiki I've ever experienced. The energy felt like it was gushing from my palms. I thought, at the time, "This is either very bad news -- the sick one must be very ill to be drawing this much energy -- or this is very good news -- the energy must be helping." And I did feel, very much, that the energy was being drawn, not sent.
After ten or fifteen minutes, I went back to my evening. The next day I watched for some news, and was surprised to learn that the ill one had died late the previous afternoon, hours before I sent Reiki. The caretakers reported that they had gone home, grief-stricken and doubting themselves, until a few hours later, when they were in different parts of their house, and they were suddenly moved to come together, and they both at the same moment found peace, and agreed, together, that they had made all the right decisions.
That's the story. I will leave you to interpret it as you wish. I bring it up because I told it to my Reiki teacher yesterday evening, and she said, "Those people gave you such a beautiful gift." I hadn't thought about it that way, that I was the one who received the gift, and should be thankful, but I was, and I am.
I apologize for the donnish tone of this post, but the attunement has left me feeling solemn. I'm sure I will return to my normal self soon.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Or maybe I am...
I like words, and the ways they can be put together, and that's the reason I listen to Country music. It has some very inventive lyrics. (The same is true of Rap: In the land of the killers, a sinner's mind is a sanctum.) Unless you've been living under a rock, you may have heard Toby Keith's big hit, with the line I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once, as I ever was.
For some reason that I can't explain, this morning a new version of that line just popped into my mind, and I liked it instantly:
I ain't as dumb as I once was, but I can be as dumb once, as I ever was.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Discouraged, and I want more potatoes on my plate
I've talked to a bazillion (not to be confused with a Brazilian) agents, and not one of them thinks my idea for Vegan Slasher is any good.
Know any agents who can see the next big thing coming?
In the meantime, I'm back to my small potatoes life:
We were having lunch in an upscale, moderately high-priced restaurant. The place was practically deserted -- it was just us and one other party. The other party was two men and two women. They all ordered sandwich wraps -- ten dollars on the menu. When their food was delivered, and the waitress placed a plate in front of one of the men, he immediately said, quite loudly:
"You take that plate back to the kitchen and put more fooood on it. There's not enough fooood on that plate. Put enough fooood on it to fill me up. For ten dollars I deserve to be filled up."
Judi leaned close and whispered, "If I was sitting at that table, I'd tell him, 'Here, if that's not enough you can have what's on my plate, because I'm waiting for you in the parking lot, and I'm never having lunch with you again.'"
To her credit, the waitress took this horrifying display in stride, whisking the plate away and returning with it a few minutes later. Judi thought the wrap looked fatter.
Other than that, it was a wonderful lunch.
Labels: Out and About